Our Australian Private Film Festival

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May 16, 2016 Honolulu, Hawaii

On December 28, 1895 the Lumiére brothers screened for the first time a motion picture film. The film was called Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory, it ran for 46 seconds and it was about literally that, workers leaving the factory.

Today this simple film has become a window to our past, a tool that we can use to actually learn from what was going on in 1895. In this short 46 second film we can witness how woman wore dresses to work at a factory, how dogs wiggle their tale as they follow their hurried masters back home and how some people choose to ride their bike to avoid the chariot traffic on the roads of France. Film does that, it takes us to meet people, places, culture from the comfort of a chair and some films are so good that they even act as empathic experiences.

Film has come a long way since that day, and today we also produce films that are based in lies to tell truths as one of my favorite fictional characters in the film Dead Poet Society said about literature John Keating.

So in this blog post and in the spirit of Tasting Travels, to promote empathy through travel, we invite you (our reader) as we were invited by our friends Fiona and Vanessa in Melbourne, to the laid back psyche and down to earth attitude of the Ozzies and to the painful mistakes that are now being amended against the Aboriginal settlers by the great country of kangaroo’s and boomerangs, of course I am taking about Australia.

The Castle

The first movie that Fiona and Vanessa encouraged us to see was named The Castle. By the title I had imagined that the film would be about medieval times, princesses, war, swords and blood. But it tuned out to be about a family named the Kerrigan’s, a family living in the suburb of Coolaroo just outside the Melbourne International airport. Their house depicted in the film was hardly a castle, in truth you might actually describe it as a well equipped hut, and the main character Darryl Kerrigan was far from being a king or a knighted armor, in fact he could be described as Australia’s #1 working class hero.

The film’s plot centers on the conflict the Kerrigans are about to have with the government, as they try to force Darryl to sell his house to them in order for them to use his property, along with his immigrant neighbors, for the expansion of the airport, forcing them to evict their home, I mean their Castle.

Full of great Aussie humor, lovable characters and endless movie quotes, this film represents for me the humble vibe and down to earth attitude that Aussies have as a society. So I will give you the link and you can look for the film in your local video store or in the internet.

Rabbit Proof Fence

Now the next film is based on true events and because of that, it was a very hard film to see. Back in the 1930s a whole generation of Aboriginal people where basically kidnapped from their home, because a group of people thought that it would be a good idea to put into re-education camps.

In this camps, the Aboriginals who had non-Aboriginal blood, in those times often referred to as half casts, were educated in the ways of the western world. The government officials were convinced that if they were given proper education, the girls would have a better chance to get married to a white man, thus helping to bred the aboriginal blood out of Australian society once and for all.

The film follows the lives of three Aboriginal girls Molly 14, Daisy 10 and Gracie 8 years old in an epic escape from one of those camps. In order to reunite themselves with their mother they travel 2,500km through the harsh conditions of the Australian Outback by foot, proving that love can make you do unbelievable things.

A film produced and acted 100% by Australians, the motion pictures acts like a sort of homage to those who belong to the so called lost generation in which the Australian government has made a public apology about it and is trying to amend. But for now the film is a great way to experience a part of this country’s history in the spirit that we learn from this and we as a human race don’t make this mistake ever again.

So I hope you have the chance to see these films and through them, learn a bit more about our brothers from the land down under. And as the same in Lumiere’s film we can use this tool to explore human condition and in the end it will help us realize that we are much more similar than different to each other, that is what empathy is all about.

 

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